Movie studios have all been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and with theatrical releases on hold, for the time being, studios have either delayed projects or pushed them to VOD. Just last week, Sony delayed most of their biggest 2020 releases such as “Morbius” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” to 2021. Universal shortly followed suit with the delay or “Minions 2” and “Sing 2“ to 2021 as well. Closing out the week, Disney announced a major reshuffle of not only their 2020 pictures but the rest of their cinematic slate in the years to follow. “Mulan” moved to July, “Black Widow” to Nov., with “Artemis Fowl” headed to Disney+. The decision to release “Artemis Fowl” onto Disney+ is huge as the film is the first Disney blockbuster with a sizeable budget to hit the platform forgoing a theatrical release, and according to Bob Iger, won’t be the last.
While no longer the CEO of The Walt Disney Corporation, Bob Iger still remains a prominent figure over at the company. While speaking with Barrons, Iger shed some light on the decision to move “Artemis Fowl” to Disney+ and if this will spark a trend for other mid-level blockbusters.
“There are some we’ve decided to put on Disney+,” said Iger. “We already announced one, ”Artemis Fowl,” that would have been released in theaters. Others we’ve simply delayed. In some cases, we’ve moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have. ”Frozen 2” was one of them, but ”Onward” would be the biggest example. It was in theaters when this happened. We moved to a pay-per-view period for a couple of weeks where people could buy it and own it. And then we ended up putting it on Disney+.”
On whether or not Disney has plans to release other blockbusters onto Disney+:
“In terms of movies going ahead after ”Artemis,” there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part, a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we’ll simply wait for slots. In some cases, we’ve announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.”
While much is still unknown about the status of films such as Pixar‘s “Soul,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and “The New Mutants,” Iger’s comments do indicate that Disney+ may be in the cards for them. Even some of 20th Century and Searchlight‘s upcoming projects could find themselves on the Mouse’s platform. However, it’s more likely that the studio will attempt to find a theatrical window at a later date. This is especially true for prestige films like “Soul.” Given the state of the world, it’s highly unlikely the new Pixar film will hit its June 19 release date. Audiences will just have to wait and see what movies Disney will send to streaming next.